A fountain in Tivoli

Italy by Bus

Day 1

Thursday, May 31, 2001 - Flight to Rome on Alitalia Airlines


Depart USA Overnight flight to Rome.

Heading to Italy

Although the Trafalgar Best of Italy tour is listed as a 14 day tour, the first and last days are travel days, so it is really a 12 day tour. On the first day, we left the United States in the afternoon to fly to Rome, arriving on the morning of the next day.

We live in southeastern Connecticut, and we could have arranged our flights so that we left from Bradley Airport in Hartford, CT. However, if we had done this, we would have had to fly from Hartford to New York or Boston, and transfer to a flight to Rome. We felt that it was easier to drive to New York (JFK Airport) and get a non-stop flight from there.

Because route 95 to New York City is unpredictable as far as traffic goes, we left home early on Thursday, May 31, 2001. Our flight, Alitalia Flight 611, was scheduled to leave New York at 7:40 PM, and we ended up at the airport about 3.5 hours before that. But that was fine with me. I would rather be there early and have to wait around than to get there late and have to scramble to make the flight.

The Flight

The flight left about on time, and it was a pretty good flight. However, I have flown to Europe twice before, once on British Airways and once on Virgin Atlantic, and the Alitalia service and food didn't come anywhere near the quality of either of those airlines.

As you know, long high-altitude flights can dehydrate a person. Once the initial beverage service and the main meal was over, the flight attendants pretty much hid in the galley. Passengers were continuously going to them to get water, instead of them coming around frequently with the drink cart as happened on the other flights.

There was only one movie, along with a couple of lame TV shows for entertainment.

The food was marginal as far as quality, and was only barely edible.

These are only a few of the issues I had with the Alitalia service. If I had the choice, I would not fly Alitalia again.

The food

For dinner we had salmon with broccoli and mushroom lasagna, carrot salad with 2 slices of turkey in it, fruit, roll, and cheese and crackers, along with a bottle of wine.

For breakfast we had a chocolate croissant, roll, cherry jelly, peach yoghurt, ham and cheese, apple juice and milk.

Flight map

The one thing I liked about the flight was that when there was no movie or anything else on the screen, they cycled through a display of various flight information. There would be screens showing such things as air speed, tailwind speed, altitude, outside air temperature, time to destination, and so on. These screens would alternate in English and Italian, and would alternate with maps showing where we were. The maps would start off at a high level, showing both the source and destination and the relative position of the plane. Then they would zoom in to show more detail of what we were flying over. (These were maps, not video of the ground.)

This was only mildly interesting until we got close to Europe. We could see when we were approaching the continent and the coastline of France. We could look out the window and see the land approaching.
As we passed over France, the map showed that we would be passing just to the southwest of the Alps, over the foothills of the Alps, which we could see below us as we passed over.

Then we passed over the Mediterranean coastline, leaving France very near Nice and Cannes. On the way to Rome, we passed near the island of Corsica, and we could see it out the window also.


Marilyn and Beth

Commentary from Marilyn and her daughter Beth about their Best of Italy tour, September 7-20, 2001, reproduced here with their permission.

Day 1, Friday, 7 September, 2001 - Overnight flight to Rome

We flew Continental from Newark leaving at 5:30 pm. The flight was no worse than flying to Hawaii. They served us a snack, and then dinner with pasta and vino to get you in the mood for Italy; it was quite good. One movie was shown. They provided a pillow, blanket, eye shades, headset, and earplugs. We didn't get as much sleep as I had hoped. I did have a neck pillow which helped me be more comfortable. We had breakfast and then landed at 7:45 am Roma time.

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Contents © Copyright 2001 Author: Lee Briggs except where noted. All rights reserved.